by Rustom Sutiara
The mere mention of sourcing aircraft components from pooling silos to an aircraft lessor will be met with a somewhat pregnant pause and a firm yet professional response: “Not on our aircraft!” The question is, why there is so much caution with regard to the utilization of pooled spares? Let’s take a look at the concerns. Is a mutual lessor/operator balance possible?
The Leasing Perspective
The lessor’s mission is to maintain asset value. That means redelivering the aircraft with as many of the original titled parts as possible. Lessors recognize that operators dip into pooled spares in order to get out of an operational corner. The principle is even more prevalent with large fleets. To this effect, the regional and low cost carrier model, where cost control is critical, are more likely to utilize pooled parts than their somewhat more cash-rich legacy or full-service counterparts. In the main, lessors prohibit the use of pooled components onboard. However some lessors do cite notable exceptions to the rule, where pooling agreements are with Tier 1 OEMs and major international airlines, and do not reject pooled parts on their aircraft. If an operator wants to utilize a spares pool, there is no reason this cannot be incorporated into the leasing agreement.
However, the lessors’ main concern is the utilization of rogue parts, which demonstrates both safety and reliability issues when examined closely in terms of the component trace. Not least, the more commercial objective of “time-value and utility” forces them to avoid pooled parts on their aircraft. Low reliability and rogue status may not be entirely down to the human element but more so that of the issue of piece parts in terms of the quality and robustness of the components utilized during maintenance and repair. Regardless, a good level of approved aircraft maintenance may restore reliability levels, and hopefully elevate these components above rogue status.
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